Saturday, February 22, 2014

Patience. Process. Friends.

Well, rumor was right. I didn't get transferred! It was a nice surprise. When they announced the changes and said that my companion was leaving, our Zone Leader looked at me and asked "Hermana Simonson, how many daughters have you had?" I answered two and he said "Well, now you´re going to have three!"  Yep, I'm training again. And my two "daughters" are training as well. Everyone is making jokes saying that President is trying to create a Generation of Mini Hermana Simonsons. It made me laugh.

Anyway, my new companion is Hermana Ventura from Mexico as well. She is AWESOME. Absolutely awesome. We have great conversations, but we also work great together. Honestly, I don't even feel like I am training, she knows exactly what she's doing. It is such a nice change.

This week passed by quickly, bringing many amazing experiences. Remember what I told you about the brother that shut the door in my face? Yes, after three long months, he was Baptized on Saturday. It was beautiful. In her talk, his daughter thanked us for our "incredible patience" with him.

Patience. The P-word. One of the hardest things for me to have. It was my mission goal:  learn patience. I didn't think that I would and I know I have a long way to go, but my companion and several other people this week thanked me for being so patient. I guess I am at least making progress.

Yes, it was a process. A door slammed in my face. That doesn't happen too often here. Partly because the people are so nice, and partly because, well, most of them don't have doors! I wasn't going to let that door have the last word, so, through the crack, I invited him to church anyway. A little bit of time passed, and one Sunday, as I was standing in the hallway, I turned around and saw a somewhat familiar face smiling at me and shaking my hand. I figured it was one of the Elder's investigators.

In the middle of Testimony, a sister got up and bore her Testimony and talked about how glad she was that her dad had come to church at last. I remember thinking, that's funny, I thought she was the sister that asked us to visit her dad he slammed the door and says he doesn't want anything to do with us. I brushed it off and thought, oh well, I guess I just need to get to know the member's faces better. Then, when she went to sit down, she sat down with the brother that had greeted me in the hallway.

I finally made the connection, it WAS her. It was HIM. Orlando had come to church! I talked to him after and he was pleased to talk to me, but would not let me put an appointment to visit him. I was so frustrated. He just told me that he would call me when he decided he wanted to listen to us. Ya right. That never happens. So, I just set an appointment to come visit his daughter, and as he walked out of the church, Orlando turned around and said "okay, MAYBE I'll be there when you come" and walked away.

Normally, I like to Baptize in three weeks. I see it as the perfect amount of time for the people to learn and grow, without putting it off so much that they get discouraged. But Orlando never accepted a date. Never. Since the beginning of December, he told us he would do it that month. Then, he said he would do it in January and nothing, nothing at all. Then, one day three weeks ago, he said "Okay, I know I need to commit. My son gets back from his mission shortly, can I do it when he gets back?"

The day came, and it all happened. It was so beautiful. It didn't happen on my time, but it happened, and that's the important thing. After his confirmation on Sunday, he returned to sit down, but went back to where I was, shook my hand, and said "I am so grateful for you. You were the one person that could finally convince me after all these years with a hard heart."

Last night, as we brought his Baptism Registers over to get signed, we all laughed together about every experience that we had had. From the time that he slammed the door, to the time when he told me the Law of Chastity was impossible and that he wasn't going to live it, to the time he said that beer was necessary for his Arthritis, to the time we sat in his house for an hour and a half, refusing to leave until he said his first prayer. It has been such a great experience.

My new companion heard the stories and got extremely excited saying that she couldn't wait to have some of her own experiences like that. And, you know what, we're actually already starting to have some together! It's amazing.

Monday night, while I was cleaning the room up to have everything ready for my new companion, I thought I should put a few pictures up around my desk because the walls are really boring. All that was up there was a Jeffrey R. Holland quote that had been my strength since I first started suffering from anxiety, "You are infinitely more than your afflictions and limitations." I surrounded that little quote with a lot of pictures that really showed me how true that statement is.

With all that has happened to me and all of the problems I have had as I struggle with anxiety and panic attacks and health, I was able to look at every picture and see the incredibly successful mission I have had and am having. When I talk about success, I am not talking about Baptisms. I didn't post a single Baptism picture and I honestly have no clue of how many Baptisms I have had. But, as I put up each picture I realized that I have had the true kind of success. I have found friends.

First off, my converts. My converts are my best friends in the world. Can you imagine what it is like to hear someone say a prayer or share their testimony, when you're the one that taught them to do it? They know us so well and we get to know them so well and the love that is felt is incredible. They really are my best friends.

Along with those pictures, I put up a lot of pictures of my companions and fellow Elders and Sisters. Or, what I would call, for now, my family. Who would have ever thought that I have brothers and sisters from all over the world? I love them SO much. We all go through everything together. LITERALLY everything. I will always love them and remember them.

Yes, I am more than my many limitations and afflictions, because the friends that I have made prove to me that I am having REAL success in some little Jungle City, an Island in the Amazon River of Peru.

Love this work. Love this Country. Love my Savior.

Love Always,

Hermana Simonson

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